Sunday offered up the match I was perhaps most looking forward to along with the shortest rail journey of the weekend, a mere 10 minutes from my base in Hengelo to Almelo. Almelo is home to Eredivisie Heracles (which incidentally translates as 'Hercules') who today were playing host to FC Twente from Enschede in the Twenthe derby. Later that evening the Netherlands equivalent to Match of the Day would show extended highlights of the match and first on the bill before PSV and Ajax thus indicating the importance and interest in this local derby. If planning a trip to Heracles, remember that the nearest station is De Riet and not Almelo which is a good few miles from the Polman Stadion situated on the southern outskirts of the city. From De Riet, it's no more than a ten minute walk.
The Polman Stadion is a neat, compact and modern stadium built in 1999 and is perfect for the needs of a small city club such as Heracles. The capacity is 8,500 and today's match was unsurprisingly a sell-out. Two useless facts: the stadium unusually has a library incorporated into the east stand which today proved a sanctuary for me as the rain lashed down prior to kick-off. Secondly, the Heracles manager goes by the wonderful name of Ruud Brood. Giant flags cascaded down the stands across fans heads and fireworks were launched in the build up to the match, a match that most would have been convinced would be won by the more fashionable visitors from Enschede. Despite dominating from the off, Twente were foiled by a staggering number of last ditch tackles, wayward shots and on a couple of occasions the woodwork before Kwawe Quansah sent the Heracles fans into delirium with a fine header. Shortly after, Twente's ex-Middlesbrough Aussie Luke Wilkshire was red-carded on his debut for an outrageous two-footed lunge on Japanese striker Soto Hirayama. Twente never recovered and Heracles scored twice more to record the first big shock of the new season (excluding NAC's 8-1 defeat at AZ the previous night!)
Admission was 27 euros and a programme an unusual part glossy, part matt cover, one euro.
FGIF Rating: 4*